Intel Announces 14nm Skylake Microarchitecture at IDF14 – Desktop and Mobility Chips To Be Available in 2H 2015
Intel announced their next generation 14nm Skylake microarchitecture at the IDF14 conference being held in San Francisco. The Skylake microarchitecture will be a Tock in Intel's Tick-Tock roadmap since its a totally new core architecture which will be based on the 14nm process that is going to be integrated on upcoming chips including desktop and mobility parts.
Intel Announces 14nm Skylake Microarchitecture at IDF14
Replacing Broadwell, the Skylake processors would be available in 2H 2015 which is just a few months away from the time Broadwell would actually be available on the high-end mobility side and desktop market. The first iteration of Skylake processors won't replace the K-Series SKUs that Broadwell will introduce in Q2 2015 but based on a new architecture, Skylake would definitely bring further core performance improvements and enhanced power efficiency. The most notable thing about Skylake was that Intel actually had actual desktop chips at IDF14 which were demoed using 3DMark Icestorm on a desktop PC and laptop too. We are over at IDF covering the event and you can check out the videos at the end of this article.
Coming back to Skylake details, this isn't the first time we have been told that Skylake is launching in 2H 2015. We have details from a few months ago which already confirmed this and now Intel just made it official with their own announcement.
Intel Core-M and Broadwell Y-Series which will arrive in holiday 2014 and are aimed toward the tablet and laptop market. The actual desktop processors won’t be available till 2015 which is a bit surprising since at the time Intel launches Broadwell-K series, they will be shipping Skylake-S to consumers in the exact same quarter or a bit late (moving in early 2H 2015). This was showcased in the latest Intel Desktop roadmap leak for consumers.
The transition to Z170 chipset will not be a massive upgrade and would be similar to what the Z97 was to Z87 with a little added features such as more PCI-e lanes, Super Speed USB and up to 10 USB ports compared to 6 standard ones found on the current iteration of motherboards. There will be a total of six 100-series chipset SKUs which will include the Z170 (Performance) replacing the Z97, H170 (Mainstream) replacing the H97, H110 (Value) replacing the H81, B150 (Small and medium Business) replacing the B85 and the Q170 plus Q150 chips with Intel vPro / SIPP which will replace the Q87 and Q85. So as you can note,Intel has the entire replacement plan ready which will update the current desktop chipset stack in 2015. Intel is already phasing out their Ivy Bridge-E and Z77/H77/H75/Q75 chipsets in early 2015. This transition won’t eliminate support for Z97 or Z87 in 2015 since there would be a majority of consumers who will still be running Broadwell and Haswell processors since these platforms have spanned a longer shelve-time in the market and will cease to exist along side each other for a couple of years.
The Z170 would be the flagship performance chipset which will support the unlocked K-Series Skylake processors which I don’t believe would be available in early 2015 and launch a bit later. The chipset will feature up to 20 PCIe Gen 3 lanes, 6 SATA Gen 3 ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and a total of 14 total USB ports (USB 3.0 / USB 2.0), up to 3 SATA Express capable ports, up to 3 Intel RST capable PCI-e storage ports which may include x2 SATA Express or M.2 SSD port with Enhanced SPI and x4/x8/x16 capable Gen 3 PCI-Express support from the processor. Aside from that, we know that the Skylake processors would becompatible with the latest LGA 1151 socketed boards and Z170 chipset which is part of the new 100-Series chipset replacing the 9-Series “Wild Cat” PCH. The second most interesting thing covered is that Skylake processors would have both DDR3 and DDR4 memory controllers so the different SKUs can be configured to use either of the memory type which is detailed in the following chart:
Intel IDF14 - Skylake Desktop Demonstration:
Intel Skylake-S and Skylake SKUs Configuration:
Intel 14nm Skylake Configuration Table
|Variant||SKL-Y (BGA)||SKL-U (BGA)||SKL-H (BGA)||SKL-S (LGA)|
|Cores Configurations||2||2 / 2||4 / 4||4 / 2 / 4|
|Graphic Configurations||GT2||GT2 / GT3e||GT2 / GT4e||GT2 / GT2 / GT4e|
|eDRAM||-||64MB – GT3e||128MB – GT4e||64MB – GT4e|
|Memory||LPDDR3 1600Mhz||LPDDR3 1600Mhz||DDR4 2133Mhz||DDR3L/DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz, DDR4 2133Mhz|
The TDPs for the Skylake processors were also confirmed last month which further detailed the various core configurations of Skylake SKUs. The desktop variants will have six different variants which will include the flagship 95W Quad Cores with GT2 and GT4e GPU while the lowest 35W TDP variant will feature Dual Cores and GT2 graphics. The H-Series lineup will also include the 95W Quad Core with GT4e graphics chip but that’s the only flagship chip followed by 65W, 55W and 45W Quad Core variants with a mix of GT4e and GT2 graphics. Skylake would also get rid of the FVIR (Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator) which was featured on Haswell generation processors and will continue to be used till Broadwell processors in 1H 2015 after which Intel will abandon the design
This H-Series doesn’t seem to include a dual core model at all. The U-Series lineup will have TDPs of 25W and 15W with the flagship part featuring Dual Cores and GT3e graphics while the other models consist of GT2 graphics. Last up is the Y-Series Skylake lineup featuring two SKUs, both featuring 4.5W TDP and 2 Cores plus GT2 graphics. The difference between them is not clearly mentioned however we think its related to clock speeds. You can get a better representation of the variants in the following chart:
We will also get several new Wireless technology on the 100-Series chipset such as Snowfield Peak (WiFi + Blue-tooth) replacing Wilkins Peak, Douglas Peak (WiGig+ WiFi + BT) replacing Stone Peak and Maple Peak and the Pine Peak plus WWAN LTE chips (XMM 726x) replacing the WWAN XMM7160) for wireless connectivity. Intel is also introducing the latest Alpine Ridge thunderbolt controller with Skylake pushing speeds of 40Gb/s, double that of last generation. For LAN, Intel will introduce Jacksonville to replace Clarksville.
|Intel Sandy Bridge Platform||Intel Ivy Bridge Platform||Intel Haswell Platform||Intel Broadwell Platform||Intel Skylake Platform|
|Processor Architecture||Sandy Bridge||Ivy Bridge||Haswell||Broadwell||Skylake|
|Processors Cores (Max)||4||4||4||4||4|
|Platform Chipset||6-Series “Cougar Point”||7-Series “Panther Point”||8-Series “Lynx Point”||9-Series “Wild Cat Point”||100-Series “Sunrise Point”|
|Platform Socket||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1150||LGA 1150||LGA 1151|
|Memory Support||DDR3||DDR3||DDR3||DDR3||DDR4 / DDR3 (Up to 64 GB)|
|Thunderbolt||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes “Alpine Ridge”|
|Platform||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA|
Skylake is going to be one of the hottest launch of 2015 since it will be a true 14nm processor with a architecture designed and built from the ground up. Boasting higher IPC and graphics performance coupled with a efficient design, Skylake might just become the perfect choice for mainstream users and enthusiasts.
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